Friday, November 21, 2014

Mahmoud Darwish: "Think of Others"

As you prepare your breakfast, think of others
       (do not forget the pigeon's food).
As you conduct your wars, think of others
       (do not forget those who seek peace).
As you pay your water bill, think of others
      (those who are nursed by clouds).
As you return home, to your home, think of others
       (do not forget the people of the camps).
As you sleep and count the stars, think of others
       (those who have nowhere to sleep).
As you liberate yourself in metaphor, think of others
       (those who have lost the right to speak).
As you think of others far away, think of yourself
       (say: “If only I were a candle in the dark").

The original Arabic:

فكِّر بغيركَ

وأنتَ تُعِدُّ فطورك، فكِّر بغيركَ
لا تَنْسَ قوتَ الحمام
وأنتَ تخوضُ حروبكَ، فكِّر بغيركَ
لا تنس مَنْ يطلبون السلام
وأنتَ تسدد فاتورةَ الماء، فكِّر بغيركَ
مَنْ يرضَعُون الغمامٍ
وأنتَ تعودُ إلى البيت، بيتكَ، فكِّر بغيركَ
لا تنس شعب الخيامْ
وأنت تنام وتُحصي الكواكبَ، فكِّر بغيركَ
ثمّةَ مَنْ لم يجد حيّزاً للمنام
وأنت تحرّر نفسك بالاستعارات، فكِّر بغيركَ
مَنْ فقدوا حقَّهم في الكلام
وأنت تفكر بالآخرين البعيدين، فكِّر بنفسك
قُلْ: ليتني شمعةُ في الظلام

"Think of Others" by Mahmoud Darwish, from Almond Blossoms and Beyond. Translated from the original Arabic by Mohammed Shaheen. © Interlink Books, 2010.  

Art credit: Video created by and uploaded April 4, 2011. Music by Secret Garden. Note that this video uses a slightly different English translation of the poem. (Click here if you can't see the viewer above.)

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